Friday, September 5, 2014

Beating up grandpa

It wouldn't surprise me to get a call from the folks who monitor elder abuse and neglect.
My aged father currently looks like he's been going the rounds in the boxing ring.
He has a huge bump on the back of his head, cuts and bruises on both arms and on his knee and 10 stitches across his right eyebrow.
He is also sporting a couple of fractured ribs.
But we kids had nothing to do with this.
In fact, if it wasn't for a little email message I got from my stepmother's daughter, I wouldn't even know he went to the hospital — twice this week.
Seems he went out to dinner Monday night and misjudged the distance when he stepped out of the SUV.
He fell down. He banged his head and went to the emergency room in the ambulance.
He was released around midnight and went back to the retirement center where he resides, not telling anybody about it.
Then yesterday around lunchtime he was mailing a letter at the front desk on his way to lunch and fell again.
This time he apparently hit his walker on the way down because he got a serious cut near his eye and smashed his ribcage.
When I saw him yesterday he looked pretty rough.
He was sitting in the bed trying to watch tennis on the hospital TV without any sound because he couldn't find a remote. (It's on the bedside unit used to call the nurse.)
He was hungry because he'd missed lunch and looked like he would miss dinner. (I got him a box lunch from the nurse's station.)
He was unhappy because whenever he breathed in hard or coughed or laughed, it hurt — a lot. He thinks the answer is to go home, get into his easy chair and stay still.
I sat with him most of the afternoon trying to figure out what is going on and what we are going to do.
Sure, he's past 90 and can be expected to have some difficulties now and then.
But two emergency room runs in four days?
I wondered myself when the doctors asked him (and me) what was going on here?
He thinks he's fine, no worries. He's getting good care and he likes the attention.
He still believes he isn't ready for an assisted living center. He doesn't see what all the fuss is about.
I'm thinking we're in big trouble here.

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